Thursday, July 29, 2010

#311 Orlando Pena

#311 Orlando Pena
So if Orlando Pena had been given an A-Rod type nickname, it probably would have been O-Pen. Thankfully, he wasn't.

Fun facts about Orlando Pena:

-Orlando is a native of Victoria de las Tunas in Cuba. He pitched for the independent Daytona Beach Islanders in 1955 and was dealt to the Reds the following year.

-He debuted with the Reds in 1958 at age 25 and won his major league debut, striking out three in two scoreless innings of relief. Frank Robinson's two-run homer in the ninth made the victory possible.

-From 1958 through 1962, Pena pitched primarily in the minor leagues, save for a full (and mediocre) 1959 season spent in the Cincinnati bullpen. He re-emerged with the Athletics in 1962 as a starting pitcher, winning 6 of 10 decisions and tossing his first career shutout.

-Though Orlando led the American League with 20 losses in 1963, he was a co-leader for the woeful A's with 12 wins and gave them 217 solid innings (3.69 ERA).

-He hit only .136 in his career with two home runs, the first of which was a grand slam on May 31, 1963 that boosted his lead over the Senators to 8-3. He went the distance that day, picking up a 9-3 win.

-From 1965-1967, the offspeed specialist pitched for three teams (A's, Tigers, Indians) despite returning to the bullpen and largely succeeding in that role (3.59 ERA, 19 saves).

-He seemed finished in the majors after spending 1968-1969 in the minors and beginning 1970 as a 36-year-old batting practice pitcher for the Royals. But Pittsburgh gave him a whirl that summer and he caught on with the Orioles in 1971, seeing action in five big league games in the latter season.

-Once again relegated to the minors by the O's for the entirety of 1972, Orlando made lemons out of lemonade by mowing down the opposition at class A Miami and AAA Rochester. Between the two stops, the 38-year-old went 22-3 with an absurd 1.25 ERA. He was actually better at AAA, going 7-0 with an 0.90 ERA in ten games there.

-Baltimore brought him back to the majors in 1973 and he turned in two-plus years of impressive relief work for the Orioles, Cardinals, and Angels (2.66 ERA in 172.1 innings, 10 wins, 11 saves). He retired at age 41, totaling 56 wins, 77 losses, 40 saves, and a 3.77 ERA in parts of 14 big league seasons. He also won 148 games with a 2.75 ERA in a dozen minor league seasons.

-Orlando spent several years scouting for the Tigers and at last check lived in Hialeah, FL.
#311 Orlando Pena (back)


  1. Dude wore 16 different numbers in his ml career. Wow.

  2. Pretty sure that's Buck Showalter way in the background...

  3. Bob - That's a lot of laundry.

    Devon - You'll only encourage my cheesy humor if you keep it up.

    Doug - He'd better hurry up and get to Baltimore. He's got a press conference tomorrow.